An hour after CR ends, Bond is flying in his replacement Aston Martin. It is presumed he nabbed Mr. White before White’s guards left the villa to pursue Bond.
White’s Quantum (or whoever runs Quantum, it could be Greene if Greene’s death was faked as was Kabira’s death, but it could be White or none of the above) is extensive in its scope. Even a trusted guard of M’s is a Quantum plant but is killed before he can talk.
White has fled the scene, but MI-6 accountants have found many Le Chiffre money notes tied to a geologist now in Haiti. Bond wings down but the geologist has gone missing and an assassin is searching his space. Bond kills the assassin, fetches the briefcase sent to the geologist’s rooms by deceit and steps outside…
…Camille is digging dirt on Greene for Bolivia and has gone without reporting to the Bolivian Secret Service for some time. She has been offered incriminating water-not-oil documents by one of the geologists in Quantum’s pay, the very geologist already being paid in Le Chiffre/White bills for Quantum’s Tierra Project, hijacking South American water supplies beginning in Bolivia.
Greene knows of Camille’s treachery and tells her (presumed) “Go to the geologist’s apartment, pick up the new fellow working for me–he’s carrying a briefcase–and bring him to me on the docks.”
Bond assumes the geologist’s role, Camille begins talking price, and Bond opens the briefcase to find a gun and photo nestled beneath blanked documents. Greene was setting Camille to be killed Jackal-style, with a weapon plus photo for reference. The assassin’s spotter (after all, Quantum does things right) trails on a motorcycle to confirm the kill.
Bond dodges Camille’s shot (she thinks 007 is Greene’s chosen assassin) and figuring the spotter, steals his cycle.
The audience sees Camille return to Greene despite the attempt in a brave bluff, and learns she has hated Bolivian General Medrano since he terrorized her family and left her burned and scarred, for dead.
All Bond sees is that Camille, his next natural link in discovering “who White works for”, is taken hostage by rough-looking characters. In the interim, he hands a Universal Export card (in the name of R. Sterling, Bond’s cover name given to Stromberg in TSWLM!) to a flunkie; when the call is connected, Bond sets a trace with his phone on Greene’s cousin Elvis’s phone. The Quantum spotter’s motorbike goes unrecognized, after all, the Camille kill was partially brokered from Europe with Le Chiffre bills.
Bond rescues Camille and leaves her, so as not to be burdened with unconscious baggage, to pursue Greene, who seems a more critical pursuit to M (and Bond).
Bond’s charter is following a CIA plane to Europe. Inside, Greene deals with Felix Leiter’s superior, Gregg Beam (Gregg with two g’s is how Michael G. Wilson and his son spell their names!) o keep the CIA away from the Greene/Medrano coup. They think Greene found diamonds and not oil in the desert.
Following Greene to the famous Bregenz floating opera house, during a performance of Tosca Bond realizes the opera is a cover for a Quantum meeting—hiding in plain sight in tux has replaced the old standby of satellite-detected hideouts in volcanoes or dirigibles, featuring white cats and trick guest seating. Bond outs the Quantum members and photographs them, but White is too savvy to be trapped.
Bond pursues a Special Branch officer and drops him (ala TSWLM) atop Greene himself, who having been “out-ed” has the man promptly shot.
Bond’s still an unknown number (pun intended) to M; she revokes his traveling abilities and Bond pursues the one section head he is 100% certain is not a Quantum double—Rene Mathis, who was “vetted” at Bond’s keen insistence. Perhaps it was a double blind in CR and both Vesper and Mathis were dirty. Perhaps Bond even knows of Mathis’ South American work and merely asks if he knows the area to pique his interest on the trip. Mathis has the pull and the know how to get Bond inserted in Bolivia, and also flown there in style filled with six vespers and wearing new Tom Ford again.
In Bolivia, Mathis has a Colonel in his pocket, who tells Bond Bolivia’s resources have been placed at his disposal. Bond rescues Camille from another Greene attempt on her life just before Strawberry Fields gives Elvis a neck brace to wear later in the film. Unfortunately for our heroes, the Colonel is actually a General Medrano ally, and police are dispatched to bury Bond and not to praise him.
M is wavering in her trust of 007, and the CIA have a green light from the PM himself to kill or capture Bond. But by gum, not only can the man disable 4 MI-6 agents while bound, but he insists that M cite Fields posthumously for bravery. She wasn’t a mere clerk; she was a trained professional who took out Elvis, darn it! Surely M cannot overlook such stiff upper lip service for her trusted Service personnel.
Bond and Camille have discovered the Tierra Project’s most valuable resource is water, and when Bond presses Felix Leiter, who dislikes Beem and the coup both, good old Felix tips Bond off to a meet at an abandoned desert hotel.
Bond kills the Colonel (“You and I have a mutual friend!”–meaning Rene Mathis who really was Bond’s friend and not Le Chiffre’s), Camille kills Medrano, and Bond pumps Greene for information before abandoning him in the desert. With irony, Bond gives Greene oil to drink, the oil Greene drowned Fields in to falsely indicate mere oil was Greene Planet’s agenda. No one would ever know Quantum has extorted for water resources save for Bond and Camille’s brave work.
Resolving the betrayal of Vesper in camera angles and a situation chosen to mirror the opening of Casino Royale, Bond informs a Canadian agent that she (and Vesper) are just potential pawns of the Quantum chessboard via Yusef Kabira, a surprising “Honey Pot” agent in male form, who seduces women of intelligence (pun intended) and gives them his signature Algerian love knots so as to leave a trail and plot resolution.
Bond is back—in Quantum of Solace—and really, he never left. We can walk away from Quantum now or see them in Bond 23, and discover if Quantum is masterminded by White, Greene, Black, or Quentin Tarentino?
And that’s what I call a simple Bond plot.